On this day in 1998 the Toronto Maple Leafs signed goaltender Curtis Joseph. Here is a look back at his incredible career.
Joseph played in 943 games over 19 seasons in the NHL. He finished his NHL career with 454 wins and sits in 7th place all time in wins. The goaltender we all knew as Cujo retired with a 2.79 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a .906 Save Percentage (SV%). He also finished with 51 shutouts and sits 29th all time in that category. Joseph was selected to three NHL All-Star games (1994, 1999, 2000)
Curtis Joseph Starts in St. Louis
Joseph broke into the NHL in 1989 at the age of 22. He played in 15 games during that rookie season, finishing with a 9-5-1 record. He allowed 48 goals out of the 435 shots he faced that season, ending with a 3.38 GAA and a .890 SV%. During the 1991-92 season Joseph recorded 9 points, all assists and that would go on to be his highest ever season total.
During the 1992-93 NHL playoffs, Joseph would lose to his future team the Toronto Maple Leafs. That round two series went to seven games and one of its more memorable moments happened in Game 1. Doug Gilmour scored on Joseph with a wrap around goal from behind the net in the second overtime.
Joseph Traded to Edmonton
After the 1995 NHL playoffs the St. Louis Blues traded Joseph’s rights to the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers and Joseph were not able to reach an agreement on a new contract, so Joseph found himself without a team to start the 1995-96 season. He would end up signing with the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL. His play with the Thunder was stellar and in his 15 games there he posted a 1.99 GAA and a .929 SV%. He was proving that he belonged in the NHL and it lead to Edmonton signing Joseph and trading Bill Ranford to the Boston Bruins.
Joseph would play 177 games over 3 seasons with the Oilers and record 76 wins. His overall record with the Oilers was 76-76-20. Joseph would leave Edmonton as a free agent in July 1998.
Cujo Signs in Toronto
In July 1998 Joseph signed a four year contract with the Maple Leafs. His first three seasons with the Maple Leafs were all 30 plus win seasons. He helped the Maple Leafs reach the conference finals in 1999 and again in 2002. He was also the runner up for the Vezina Trophy in 1999 losing to Dominik Hasek.
At the end of the 1999-00 season, Joseph won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy which is awarded to the player who best represents leadership and humanitarian contribution. He was also third in voting for the Vezina Trophy that same year.
In the final year of his four year contract with the Maple Leafs in 2001-02, Joseph had the honour of playing for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Team Canada would go on to win the Gold Medal in Men’s Hockey for the first time in 50 years.
During his four years with the Maple Leafs, Joseph played 249 games earning a record of 133-88-27 with 17 shutouts.
Joseph Signs in Detroit
The reigning Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings signed Joseph to a three year deal in the summer of 2002. They needed a new starting goaltender after Dominik Hasek retired and Joseph needed a new team. His first year with the Red Wings was fairly good with a 34-19-6 record in 61 games. Unfortunately for Joseph, in the summer of 2003 Hasek decided he would like to return and the Red Wings GM Ken Holland signed Hasek.
Joseph only played 31 games during the 2003-04 season as backup to Hasek. He wouldn’t get the chance to play the third year of his contract due to the NHL lockout during the 2004-05 season.
Joseph Signs in Phoenix
In the summer of 2005, Joseph got a call from Wayne Gretzky who was coaching the Phoenix Coyotes and asked Joseph to come join the team. Joseph signed a one year deal and would go on to play 60 games that season with a record of 32-21-3 with four shutouts. Joseph became the first goaltender to ever win 30 or more games with five different teams.
During the summer of 2006, Joseph decided to sign another one year deal with the Coyotes. His second season with the team was not nearly as good as his first. He posted a record of 18-31-2 with four shutouts in 55 games.
2007 Spengler Cup
After not signing with any teams before the 2007-08 season, Joseph decided to wait until he could find the right fit. While he was waiting he joined Team Canada for the 2007 Spengler Cup. He would go on to help Canada win the Spengler Cup on December 31st, 2007.
Joseph Signs in Calgary
On January 14th, 2008 Joseph signed a one year deal with the Calgary Flames. He played in 9 games as the backup to Miikka Kiprusoff posting a record of 3-2-0. On April 13th, 2008 Joseph replaced Kiprusoff in Game 3 of the Flames first round series against the San Jose Sharks. After falling behind 3-0, the Flames came back to win the game 4-3. With the win, Joseph became the first goaltender to win a playoff game with 5 different teams.
Cujo Returns to Toronto / Retires
On July 1st, 2008 Joseph signed a one year deal with the Maple Leafs to play as the backup. He played in 21 games that season and finished with a record of 5-9-1.
Joseph announced his retirement on January 12th, 2010.
My earliest memory of Curtis Joseph would be when Gilmour scored on him in double overtime to win Game 1 in their 1993 second round series.
I enjoyed watching Cujo a lot when he played here in Toronto. If it was not for him, the Maple Leafs would not have made it to the conference finals in 1999 and 2002.
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